Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Agent as Trustee Liability

Posted by William Byrnes on February 17, 2011


A recent Delaware Court of Chancery decision illustrates the severe consequences that can befall an insurance agent trustee who violates his or her duties to the trust’s beneficiaries. The agent in the case agreed to serve as trustee of a client’s life insurance trust.  

The client, a Father, had a falling out with his son over the Father’s marriage to a woman 17 years his junior. Nevertheless, the Father and his second wife formed a trust for the benefit of the son. The couple asked their family insurance agent to serve as trustee of the trust. The trust purchased a second-to-die life insurance policy on their lives.  Although the trust was irrevocable, the Father ad young wife asked the trustee to revoke the trust only three years after it was formed. The trustee intelligently refused to revoke the trust, but did agree to loan the policy’s cash value to the couple. 

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